Talking History Online: Strumpet, Sinner, Circus Star?

Uncovering the dramatic, mysterious, and tragic life of a Destitute Asylum girl

Corinne is a curator at Adelaide’s Migration Museum, and discovered Mabel in 2015 doing research for an exhibition on the Destitute Asylum, now the site of the Migration Museum.

Who was Mabel Worley (1872-1937)? Mabel gave birth at the Destitute Asylum, married, ran away, and joined a circus. Corinne’s talk and book Three-ring circus, uncovers Mabel’s incredible adventures as she navigated love and loss, and fell into a life of crime, yet rubbed shoulders with the big stars of her day. It solves a 100 year old family mystery: how did her life go so wrong, and what happened to her daughter? Roll up, roll up, for a sensational story of family, sex, secrets, and stardom.

Corinne has curated over a dozen museum exhibitions as lead-curator and co-curator, written numerous short articles for Adelaidia, SA History Hub, and In Daily, blogged on various platforms including Medium, and has three upcoming book chapters in academic museology and history titles. She has presented at state, national and international conferences about South Australian history, the Destitute Asylum, and disability history.

Three-ring circus: the dramatic, mysterious, and tragic life of Mabel Worley, a Destitute Asylum girl by Corinne Ball is coming in May 2022 from Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne.

Click here to register